the Truancy Files 

Wednesday, Apr 5 2006

After getting an informal education in the art of organizing and political protest, it now appears many high school students in L.A. are prepping for lessons on interacting with the legal system.

Attorneys with the National Lawyers Guild announced last week two hotlines, one in English and one in Spanish, for students to call to contest their truancy citations. (The numbers are 310-712-6373 and 310-712-7066.) The lines’ inboxes can hold up to 75 messages, and they’ve been jammed since Thursday, said Cynthia Anderson-Barker, one of the attorneys volunteering time to call back students to guide them through the process.

The citations are infractions, to be be dealt with in Informal Juvenile and Traffic Court. But attorneys said they hope to get them dismissed at the district level.

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According to the Los Angeles Unified School District, school police officers issued 156 truancy citations between March 27 and March 31. Anderson-Barker said the attorneys have received up to 600 citation-related calls from students throughout the region.

Said Anderson-Barker: “We’re seeing that there’s batches of them, 100 at this school, 200 at this school.”

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